When we think of what businesses use automation for, managers and marketers everywhere will talk about filling the top end of the sales funnel – this is something automation is very good at and is time-consuming for sales professionals. This is what made sales automation a more than $4 billion market in 2018. And it’s no wonder why businesses would want to use automation for this, it keeps costs down while delivering personalized customer experiences. Some companies are even able to use the automation to personalize packaging that is sent to a customer’s home, and that’s the type of service that gets customers coming back – even when they don’t realize they’re talking to automation.
However, automation goes deeper than this. Companies and organizations are using automation for business processes internally, in manufacturing, in forecasting and in evaluating performance in HR. Increasingly, companies are even using automation systems in order to help their internal customers as well, especially in larger organizations. As the uses expand, so do the system’s complexities and the challenges of management. What are we to make of this “automation sprawl?”.
If you find that your organization started using automation for structured tasks like sales, marketing, IT help and employee onboarding, and you have a lot of competing systems – it’s time to re-evaluate. Generalized systems that can do one or many things are available, and they can streamline your business processes. Better yet – they can bring complex data processes into one system to look at, manage, and make better decisions with.
One of the chief issues with automation – other than the growing pains of installing such a system, is that automated systems have been until now very good at doing one or two areas of the business process. Automated systems in HR and sales automation take a while to begin to understand the business processes behind a particular organization and become effective – just as a new employee or manager would – and then they become a part of the team and become even more effective. Once they’re effective, you just track the results – usually, it’s a huge improvement. What if these systems were to talk together, how much more could they improve?
Integrating automation as a part of your business process and looking for ways to expand its footprint internally will ultimately lead to a more efficient and streamlined organization – one that uses its internal data to power decision making that is comprehensive and based on complex data sets touching numerous departments. This is the future of automation in companies, data being mined, gathered displayed in ways that help drive better decision making.
In order to do this, businesses need to streamline their automation and develop a strategy that touches all areas of their business, so the automation can learn as much as it can, and begin to help make better decisions. Make sure employees understand – and management as well – the plan for automation, and consider putting a team in charge of automation if your organization is large enough. Work on your automation as a core area of your business, and see how it can help to propel your organization forward.